For the first time in quite a while, I listened to the thump-thump-thump of basketballs bouncing off the floor on Monday.

Seneca High School’s thumps were a bit faster pace, and the swishes occurred more often. Laurens will have better days, but I wonder if I could have told who was winning with my eyes blindfolded.

Probably not. My directional hearing isn’t as reliable as it once was.

Spartanburg Christian Academy has a well-appointed but smallish gymnasium. Mauldin was pulling away from Boiling Springs in the second half when I got there and started to sit down next to a law enforcement officer, who told me I couldn’t sit there because he wasn’t supposed to be sitting there, either, but it was his job to tell me to sit somewhere else and there wasn’t anyone in a position to tell him the same thing.

I just moved up to the second row and sat where I could observe social distance and prepare my makeshift legal pad to tally up statistics that aren’t kept in scorebooks.

When the game was over, I copied down the Seneca roster with the cooperation of the nice redheaded lady who kept the Bobcats’ book. Seneca had a player named Cam O’Kelley, and I remarked that he must be very, very Irish, and she said that his first name was actually Cameron and his status was her son.

He scored 7 points and his teammates added 71 more. Laurens’ Preston Mahon scored 4. Just one day into the 3-day tournament, I expect both are in contention for the tournament’s All-Irish team.

They got that, right?

Though the tournament is in Spartanburg, I was in Cognito. When I walked in, I explained that I was with Laurens County Sports and displayed the photo ID I printed out of my home printer early in football season. The lady didn’t say a word. I just walked on by.

Other than the LDHS team, I don’t think a soul there knew who I was besides the cop and Cameron O’Kelley’s mother. I wasn’t there to be noticed. Once the Laurens-Seneca game started, I sat on the front row behind the baseline, the better to take photos.

After the first quarter, it wasn’t much of a game. The Bobcats’ press had approximately the same effect on the Raiders as the one Sitting Bull put on Gen. George Custer in 1876, not that I was around to see it, though I may have watched it on ESPN Classic late one night. Joshua Chavis’s team has a whole season in front of it. They will have many more stands.